Most boxing observers know what’s at stake when WBA champ Amir Khan takes on WBA 140-pound interim champ Marcos Maidana on December 11 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Both Khan and Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs) know what the deal is; a chance to begin cleaning up the division. With a proposed Tim Bradley-Devon Alexander bout set for January 29, the winner of Khan-Maidana might just get a shot at something big.
“Maidana is a big name. If I want to unify the division I have to fight the best,” Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) said. “I believe if you want to be known as a great fighter you have to clean up divisions and that's what I'm going to do.”
Khan has built an impressive track record with wins over Paulie Malignaggi, Andriy Kotelnik and Marco Antonio Barrera. Adding Maidana to his list of wins will go a long way in making him the man to beat in the junior welterweight division.
For Maidana, who has wins over DeMarcus Corley, Victor Oritz and Kotelnik, it’s a fight that could land him right smack dab in the mainstream. With 27 knockouts in just 29 fights, everyone is convinced Maidana has the power. The problem is, not much is known about him. That could change with a win against Khan.
“You can say he's the favorite and I'm the underdog, but I don't feel that way,” Maidana said. “I feel calm and prepared and know I will win.”
Then there is the obligatory claim that Khan was ducking him.
“I felt Amir was scared of me because he wasn't giving me the opportunity to fight him,” Maidana continued. “It's been almost a year and half since I won the interim title. I'm excited that we're going to fight.”
Could it be Khan was maybe looking for a payday instead of ducking Maidana?
In any event, two of the best in the world will be going at it on December 11.